AMERICA, 1936. At the height of the Depression sweeping the nation, in an era of social inequality, a brilliant twenty year old actor and magician named Orson Welles set about producing and directing the new Negro Theatre Project in Harlem, New York. In an audacious move, he chose Macbeth transported to 19th Century Haiti, and starring one Eric Burroughs, for whom Welles transformed the role of witch queen Hecate into a Mesphitophelean Prince of Darkness, so inspired was Welles by the actors performance.
The uniquely personal memory of this landmark event which launched Welle's meteoric rise, and the controversy in Harlem at the time, was related by the actor to his son Norris Burroughs, and now via a potent brew of fact, memory and magic into this stunning B/W 70 page oneshot from Engine Comics (PDF COPY).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Norris Burroughs was born in Harlem, New York in 1952. He grew up in the North East Bronx, which when he was a boy was an ethnically mixed neighbourhood, mostly Italian, Irish and Jewish. In 1967, he returned to Harlem to attend the High School of Music and Art as an Art student, at a time when all sorts of political and social revolutionary stuff was happening at the nearby City College campus.
Upon graduating, he moved to Manhattan and started hanging out in Greenwich Village, working as an artist and musician. His primary hangout was a club called Max's Kansas City, witnessing the birth of Punk led by the New York Dolls, which Malcolm McLaren strip mined to create the Sex Pistols. Then it was on to the mid Seventies at CBGB's with more seminal Punk beginnings ala The Ramones, Television and Blondie. In 1979, he dated a hungry modern dance student named Madonna Ciccone. Upon breaking up with her, he became ensared in her myth, when he introduced her to the guy that was to form her first band.
Norris continued to work as a freelance illustrator and played and sang in various bands throughout the Eighties, including Kraze, which had an international music hit called The Party. They toured Europe for the next year soaking up the early acid house scene until the hubbub subsided. In the NIneties, he pretty much retired from music to focus on art exclusively. He did scifi paperback covers for the likes of Blake's 7 and Philip K. Dick among others, and began to focus primarily on sequential art storytelling. He states Jack Kirby and Alan Moore as his chief influences, and is a regular contributor to the Jack Kirby Collector Magazine.